Sallie Mae vs. Wells Fargo Student Loan Comparison
Both Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo provide student loans, but each has different strengths. Sallie Mae loans are best for borrowers who want cosigner release ASAP or interest-only payments for a year. Wells Fargo is best for in-person help.
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Private student loan lenders help students who have exhausted federal student loan limits but need to borrow more to cover education costs. Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo are two private lenders that help students finance undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree programs.
This Sallie Mae versus Wells Fargo student loan comparison will help you decide which lender is the right one for you, depending on your situation.
In this review:
- At a Glance: Sallie Mae vs. Wells Fargo Student Loans
- Wells Fargo vs. Sallie Mae Student Loans: Which is right for you?
At a Glance: Sallie Mae vs. Wells Fargo Student Loans
|Fixed APR||5.49% – 11.85%¹||5.49% – 10.93%|
|Variable APR||4.25% – 11.35%¹||4.80% – 10.72%|
|Loan Terms||5 – 15 years*||Not disclosed|
|Loan Amounts||$1,000 up to 100% of school-certified cost of attendance¹||$1,000 – $120,000|
Wells Fargo vs. Sallie Mae student loans: Which is right for you?
Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo are each major student loan lenders. Both offer private student loans to students across the country who qualify based on credit and income. Both also allow cosigners to help students who couldn’t qualify for loans on their own.
You can learn more about each lender in our full Sallie Mae student loan review and Wells Fargo student loan review, respectively. While each lender has some pros and cons, there are a few instances where one lender may be better than the other for you.
- If your school has very high tuition costs
- If you want to make interest-only payments
- If you want the shortest possible cosigner release
- If you want a career-training loan
- If you want in-person help with your student loans
- If you want to consolidate your financial accounts
If your school has very high tuition costs: Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae allows you to borrow up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance. Wells Fargo caps loans at $120,000. If you are attending a very expensive school or going to school for a long time to earn multiple degrees, more flexible borrowing from Sallie Mae would likely be best.
If you want to make interest-only payments: Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae offers a graduated repayment period that lets you make interest-only payments for up to a year after your loan enters repayment. This keeps monthly costs down as you establish your career, but it could mean your loan costs more in the long term.
Wells Fargo doesn’t provide as much flexibility with repayment, although you do have the option to defer payments for up to 6 months after leaving school.
If you want the shortest possible cosigner release: Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae lets you request cosigner release after you have made 12 on-time monthly payments. When a cosigner is released, they are no longer responsible for the loan, and future repayment activity can no longer impact their credit.
Wells Fargo also offers cosigner release. But it’s not available until you’ve made 24 consecutive on-time payments. If you miss the first scheduled payment, you must make a full 48 months of payments before you’re eligible for cosigner release.
If you want a career-training loan: Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae offers career-training loans for students to take a certificate course or other professional training at a school that doesn’t offer a traditional degree. It will cover up to 100% of school-certified expenses.
Wells Fargo collegiate loans are designed for undergraduates enrolled in degree-granting programs. It offers a career-training loan, but caps the amount at $20,000.
If you want in-person help with your student loans: Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo has thousands of local branches across the United States. You can find a branch using its Branch Locator tool. Because of its local branches, you can get in-person assistance related to your loan.
Sallie Mae, on the other hand, is an online lender without local support.
If you want to consolidate your financial accounts: Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is a full-service bank that offers mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, wealth management, and banking services. It also offers a 0.25% discount on your student loan interest rate if you have other accounts with Wells Fargo.
Sallie Mae offers far fewer financial products, as it primarily focuses on personal loans and student loans.
Bottom Line: Will You Choose Wells Fargo or Sallie Mae?
Both Sallie Mae and Wells Fargo are great choices for students looking for help to pay for college. Currently, Sallie Mae offers better rates and terms, but which is better for you will depend on what you qualify for and your personal financial situation.
Sallie Mae Student Loan Disclosures
Author: Christy Rakoczy